Community Outreach Summer Fellowship

This paid summer training program provides a small group of rising Williams sophomores and juniors, with priority given to rising sophomores, training in key skills, and the opportunity to help build better community service and experiential learning opportunities at Williams.  The 7 week-long, 35-hour/week position reports to the CLiA Director and includes on-campus housing. The 2020 program ran remotely for 6 weeks and was adapted to fit COVID-19 constraints. We are hoping that we will return to an in-person program during the summer of 2021.  If the college disallows on-campus programming, we will again run a remote version of the program.

Responsibilities include:

  • Participation in orientation and training sessions
  • Working on a group creative project and an individual project with a community organization
  • Assisting in the review and improvement of community outreach programming and partnerships
  • Designing community tours and community service activities for others

Qualifications:

We look for highly motivated students with a strong work ethic, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to work independently. Familiarity with (or willingness to learn) Microsoft Excel, Google Drive, and WordPress is also desirable. The program also provides basic training in videography, web design, and graphic arts.

Results:

Past Community Outreach Fellow teams have created music video public service announcements, training videos, and podcasts. Individual projects have included designing flyers and newsletters for local non-profits and helping develop mobile phone apps.

Our most recent Community Outreach Fellows are featured below. For more information about previous years’ Fellows, please visit our Past Fellows page.

Summer 2021

(Click the students’ names to learn more about their work)

  • My name is Abby Atonal Rodriguez and I am a rising junior this year. This is my second year at Williams College. Before attending Williams, I attended Mesa Community College in Arizona. I transferred here as a non-traditional student.

    This summer I worked alongside a total of three other Fellows as a mini public relations team for the Town of Adams. During our work, we interviewed, photographed, and filmed a variety of people who live in Adams. They shared a little bit of their stories with us as well as their hopes for the community at hand. Our team then had the opportunity to edit those photos and film to create an interactive map of the Town of Adams. We learned that the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution heavily impacted the economy and quality of life of Adams. As a result, Adams is actively creating a new niche. The map our team worked to create can be used to promote the Town of Adams as well as an educational tool for those who wish to virtually explore the town.

  • Hannah Bae

    I'm a sophomore from the Chicago area planning to major in Political Economy and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Following such an unconventional first year at Williams that made it difficult to engage with the community, the Community Outreach Fellowship helped me to seek out ways that I can engage with our community, both on campus and in the greater Berkshires area.

    In the first few weeks of the program, we attended workshops on zine-making, videography, website design, and graphic art. We also met (in person!) the community leaders and organizations behind all the work that’s being done for the betterment of Berkshire County.

    There was so much creative freedom within the fellowship as we were able to tailor our zine, video, and independent project to our passions. I'm drawn to educational outreach, and for the group video project I worked with other Fellows to film and edit a video that highlights 2020 CO Fellow Kary Chen's Coloring American Heroes booklet and the racial justice curriculum currently being developed for the Pittsfield Public Schools. We interviewed Kary as well as staff members from PPS to convey the impact that Kary's project has had and the general significance of a more inclusive and diverse curriculum.

    For my independent project, I continued with curriculum development, now focusing on inclusive, comprehensive sex education in the Berkshires. With the help of CLiA and Williams staff, I was able to connect with the Elizabeth Freeman Center, a local organization that runs sex education programming in Berkshire public schools. The EFC is currently creating and distributing zines on topics related to sexual wellness, and I will be aiding with content creation. This summer, I have created a glossary of LGBTQIA terms and a zine that unpacks the cultural fetishization of women of color.

    I am so grateful to have spent the summer as a CO Fellow and to have worked with CLiA, Paula, and the rest of the CO Fellows, and I look forward to further immersing myself in the Berkshire community!

  • Milo Chang

    After spending the past few years involved in political campaigns and organizations, I felt burnt out from the negativity in our modern politics. I started questioning whether politics was doing more harm than good, whether I was contributing to the toxicity dividing our nation. I lost the optimism that had always been the source of my motivation. At the same time, I found myself enjoying the work I was doing through CLiA programs, where I was able to see the positive impact we made in people's lives. Instead of campaigning in hopes of seeing changes years in the future, we were helping low-income taxpayers receive their tax refunds now — making a tangible improvement in their lives. That feeling, the certainty of knowing that I had made a difference in another person’s life, made me super excited to work as a CLiA Community Outreach Fellow this summer. Through the fellowship, I had the opportunity to meet with community leaders across the Berkshires and learn skills to help them in their efforts.

    This summer, I worked with a group of Fellows to create a video PSA promoting the HOMES Act, a bill in the Massachusetts General Court that would protect tenants from being denied housing due to inaccurate or misleading eviction court records. In the process, we engaged with local organizations working to assist individuals and families facing homelessness or housing insecurity, learning about the incredible work taking place all around us.

    For my independent project, I created a crash course on Williamstown politics to give Williams students the knowledge they need to be informed community members and voters. I interviewed members of the Williamstown Select Board, the interim Town Manager, and members of the community, distilling the most important information into a guide for students. In the process of conducting the interviews and scouring through newspaper articles going back decades, I learned a lot more about the town in which we live and the challenges we face.

    After this summer, I can't wait to participate in more CLiA programs and learn even more about the region. I'm especially excited to have the opportunity to continue working with Paula and the rest of the CLiA staff!

  • Jacob Grover

    Working as a Community Outreach Fellow under CLiA provided me numerous opportunities to develop individually and establish an increased appreciation for the work done by Berkshire community members. I applied for this position because I wanted to help support the place I now consider a second home. Thanks to Paula and staff, I was able to meet several individuals and organizational groups that care deeply about the wellbeing of the Berkshires and its residents. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity to learn about and assist the Berkshire community.

    For my first community project, I collaborated with a small group of coworkers to create virtual tours of local historical sites that are significant to the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican people. Working alongside the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Historic Preservation Office, we were able to connect the now relocated tribe with their homelands. The virtual tours are available to view on the Preservation Office's social media.

    My specialty project involved a more in-depth look at the current status of public transportation in Berkshire County. The final product was an infographic highlighting the county's current transportation options and actions that can be taken to improve accessibility. Both the geological and demographic characteristics of the county were considered to suggest effective solutions to improve the shortcomings of the current transportation situation. The infographic also provides resources to help individuals get involved with the issue of transport accessibility.

  • Jo Hovey

    After spending a year doing most things remotely, I was glad to have the opportunity to engage with the community again through this in-person fellowship. I worked with other CLiA Fellows on an informational video about the Coloring American Heroes Project - a coloring book started by 2020 CLiA Fellow Kary Chen that teaches kids about African American role models. This work delves into the important issues of racial justice and diversity and their role in K-12 curriculums. We worked with people from Pittsfield Public Schools who want to use the coloring book in the classroom to help develop this cause.

    For my independent project, I wanted to incorporate my passion for mental health and engage with the young members of the local community. I worked with CLiA Fellow Emily Zhu to create a mindfulness and self-care activity book for elementary-age children. This pandemic has been challenging for everyone; we learned about the toll it’s taken on children in our local community, considering the lack of therapists and mental health resources for young children in the area. I wanted to teach them about self-care and give them tools to improve their physical and emotional well-being. Some of the topics covered include healthy eating, physical activity, yoga, breathing exercises, and more. We've already started work to distribute it to the Northern Berkshire Childcare Center, and hopefully, its reach will continue to expand. I'm grateful for the opportunity to make an impact on the community and hopefully on the children who come across the activity book.

    Overall, this experience has changed my view of Williams. It's not really in the middle of nowhere like I previously thought; it is an active place with so many people working to create change and numerous ways to help and get involved. The program allowed me to build a network, learn from other Fellows and community leaders, and use my creativity to benefit others and a cause I wholeheartedly believe in.

  • Sunny Hu

    The pandemic limited my opportunity to take advantage of programs that Williams offers during my first year, so I was ecstatic to work with an amazing program like CLiA for the first time. As a Davis Center Racial Justice Summer Opportunity Grant recipient, I attended workshops and collaborated with the CLiA Community Outreach Fellows. In particular, I learned extensively about video editing, zine making, and organizations in the Berkshire community in our numerous workshops and training. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, I barely knew much about the Berkshire community and had only gone out of Williamstown to purchase groceries. I am extremely grateful to have toured surrounding towns like Adams and Pittsfield, met with community leaders at the NBCC Annual Meeting, and toured organizations like the Berkshire Food Project and North Berkshire YMCA.

    I am incredibly grateful for having in-person team projects again. During the first half of the fellowship, I worked with an amazing team to create a PSA video about the Coloring American Heroes project. We interviewed Kary Chen, the previous CLiA Fellow who pioneered the coloring book, and Shirely Edgerton, the cultural proficiency coach for the Pittsfield Public Schools. In addition to interviewing the significant people involved in the coloring book, we invited children in the community to color with crayons and markers in the coloring book.

    On top of working with my team on our video project, I focused on my project for the Davis Center. Inspired by how the Coloring American Heroes project spotlights notable African American figures, I decided to create a podcast that highlighted Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) figures that are often ignored in American history. Outside of CLiA workshops and team meetings, I researched about the first Asian American actress in Hollywood—Anna May Wong—and refined my episode transcript.

    I am beyond grateful to Paula for allowing me to work with the CLiA Fellows and attend the beneficial training. Without the skills I gained this summer and experiences with the other summer Fellows, I would not have been able to develop my podcast as much and realize how CLiA maintains such a positive presence in the Berkshires.

  • Ethan Jeon

    I began by looking at the HOMES Act, a set of bills designed to protect the credibility of tenants and their online housing records. I created a video PSA highlighting its key aspects and what they would mean for many Massachusetts families. My group went on to interview Kathy Keeser, Executive Director of the Louison House of North Adams, on her work with transitional housing and her hopes for what the HOMES Act could accomplish.

    I was also involved in another group's cycle of interviewing and video editing. We archived footage of artists, townspeople, and other proponents of community development in the nearby town of Adams, all centered around the renovation of the historic Adams Theater. Working alongside Yina Moore, Founder and Executive Director of Adams Theater, as well as interns from local high schools, we've set a foundation for other students in the future to build onto in the coming months. I'm looking forward to possibly coordinating music performances between the College and the theater as renovations progress.

    The individuals I met shared this certain energy of wanting to make things happen, of having had all these wonderful plans in their heads and finally being able to roll them out alongside the spread of COVID vaccines. It was a healthy dose of optimism that I enjoyed capturing on film and presenting to wider audiences.

    And spending the summer in a building along with a bunch of likeminded students was a wonderful experience. My thanks goes out to them as well as Paula for helping me navigate my first summer at Williams.

  • I am a sophomore from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I worked on promoting the Coloring American Heroes project with four other Fellows through capturing pictures, and videos for the Coloring American Heroes project. For my individual project, I worked on a booklet that is dedicated to create awareness on the importance of a society that integrates people with ADHD, Autism and other neurodivergent conditions. Moreover, I wanted to highlight the stories of famous people with special needs in order to inspire and encourage neurodivergent people. I hope this booklet can be seen as a tool that sparks interest in people to know more about neurodiversity.

  • Tiffany Park

    Working as a Community Outreach Fellow this summer was truly a healing experience. This past year was one of the most isolating and challenging years of my life, but through this fellowship, I was able to reconnect with the Williams community and interact with amazing people. Through our field trips, workshops, and project work, I saw how much hard work and dedication it takes to create a lively community and felt the warmth and energy of the Berkshires.

    One of my first projects was creating a zine about some of my favorite places on campus as a potential resource for first-year students. Although Williams is a small school, it can take a while to explore and get to know all of the spaces available on campus. In my zine, I recommend some great places to study, nap, cry, eat, and more. I was also able to work with an amazing team of CLiA Fellows on a video project for the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians. We filmed and edited videos of culturally significant locations on the tribe's original ancestral land for a virtual tour of these sites.

    For my last project, I worked with another CLiA Fellow and researched the potential of implementing a Health Coach program at Williams, modeled after the program at the College of Wooster. This program would help those in the community's elderly population to improve their wellness practices and avoid preventable hospitalizations, while also allowing students to gain clinical experience and develop good bedside manner. After some initial research, we created an introduction to the program to help us explain the program to members of the Williams and Berkshire community. I am so grateful for all the opportunities I had this summer, and I am thankful to Paula, the wonderful CLiA Fellows, and the great community members who I worked with.

  • Aiden Pham

    I am Aiden (Quang-Anh) Pham, a sophomore from Hanoi, Vietnam. Having spent my first semester remotely and my second semester limited to campus, I was excited to go out into the surrounding community and learn about how community members are supporting one another. Through workshops on zine-making, video-editing, and graphic design, I had the chance to explore the various avenues in which community outreach functions and has an impact. Through conversations with Paula and other community leaders, I was able to learn about the work that goes into community organizing, navigating conflict, and communicating to address people's needs.

    For my video project, my group worked with Yina Moore from Adams Theater to document the various development projects happening in the town of Adams. Interviewing artists and townspeople on their contributions to developing and revitalizing the Adams social/cultural scene, I feel incredibly humbled to learn about their experiences, passions, and visions for the wider community. I specifically worked on editing our interview of Jack Savage, a retired theater professional, in which he supports the renovation and opening of Adams Theater as a community center. For my independent work, I worked with the Tribal Historic Preservation Office on a program aimed at raising awareness of the history of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians through creative interaction with and active reflection on nature. Through creative activities woven on educational and informative components about the Tribe's past and current activities, I hope to encourage my peers to acknowledge their and the College's presence on Mohican ancestral lands, reckon with the Williams' family involvement in displacing the Tribe, and align their political perspectives. I also want to highlight the work of the Office and open up opportunities for dialogue and collaboration between the Office and the student body.

    Apart from the chance to meet and work with community leaders, working with and getting to know the other CLiA Fellows have been deeply rewarding to me. Their range of perspectives and interests inspire me greatly in my work, and getting to know them on a personal level has made my summer all the more meaningful and enjoyable!

  • Sara Sanchez Alarcon

    During my time as a Community Outreach Fellow, I had the amazing opportunity to meet a lot of artists and innovators who were making the Berkshires a more welcoming place to live in for all people. From visiting the Berkshire Food Project to meeting Yina Moore, the new owner of the Adams Theater, I found myself in the middle of the renovation and renewal of the town of Adams and of the Berkshires as a whole. I worked alongside a few friends to record and archive interviews with local townspeople and artists, and from some of these interviews, we created short videos to promote the town's development projects. Our initial short video project—a simple promotional video for Adams Theater—suddenly became my specialty project, and I have been setting up a foundation for future CLiA Fellows to follow behind, including finding more artists to interview and a standardized font and style for future videos. Ultimately, the grand plan which Yina nudged us towards is to have a living archive of the Bershires artists, and we have only scratched the surface.

  • Erin Youn

    Hello! My name is Erin Youn, and I am a part of the Class of 2024 currently on the pre-med track. During the school year, I am involved with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) and Positive Pathways Partnership (P3). I was drawn to the Community Outreach Fellowship this summer because my exposure to Berkshire County during a first year overshadowed by the pandemic was, unfortunately, limited. Working with CLiA this summer proved to be the perfect opportunity to familiarize myself with a pool of different community organizations and institutions that make Berkshire County the vibrant community that it is.

    Both my group and independent projects this summer gave me opportunities to not only get acquainted with the Berkshires, but also engage with the community. The focus of my group's short-term project was to create a PSA for the HOMES Act, an act that would prevent evictions that took place through no fault of the tenant. The PSA was created in order to spread awareness on what the act entailed, with the hope that its passage in the Massachusetts State Legislature would prevent errors from drastically affecting tenants' livelihoods.

    This fellowship also served as a great channel to meld together my passion for community engagement with my other interests. This was possible through my independent project, in which I worked with another CLiA Fellow to research and create a model for the creation of a Health Coach Program at Williams. Modeled after another college’s Health Coach Program, our program will allow students to receive hands on clinical experience by serving as health coaches to a primarily elderly population while simultaneously reducing unnecessary hospitalizations. The hope is that our initial research will pave a way to instituting this kind of program in Williamstown.

    Overall, working with CLiA this summer was a memorable and fantastic opportunity. Thank you to Paula and my peers for their guidance and support this summer!

  • Emily Zhu

    I really enjoyed my time working with CLiA and doing community outreach work this summer. I was interested in this opportunity primarily because I wanted to connect with the Berkshire community and learn about the different ways I can get involved here. Through this fellowship, I was able to learn about many initiatives local organizations are taking while meeting with various community leaders. I was also able to gain valuable skills through all of the video editing and website building workshops that I attended.

    For my video project, I helped create a PSA video highlighting the Coloring American Heroes Book that Kary Chen created last summer. I worked with other CLiA Fellows as well as leaders at the local elementary schools to create this video in an attempt to expand its use and encourage more schools to incorporate it into their curriculum so more children can be exposed to heroes of color. For my individual project, I worked with CLiA Fellow Jo Hovey to create a mindfulness and self-care activity book for young children. Knowing how the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many individuals, we wanted to focus on raising awareness about the importance of mindfulness for children from a young age. Through this activity book, we hope to equip kids with strategies to cope with difficult situations and teach them healthy ways of expressing their emotions.

    During my first year at Williams, I did not get many opportunities to explore the Berkshires, but this fellowship opened my eyes to the wide expanse of opportunities available for me to engage with the community. I had a great experience working with the local organizations as well as Paula and other CLiA Fellows this summer, and I am looking forward to taking the skills I gained this summer to get more involved with the Berkshires during the rest of my time at Williams!